Murder, mayhem, and mourning: a qualitative study of the experiences, reactions, and coping mechanisms of homicide survivors
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Previous research has greatly ignored the unique stressors that homicide survivors experience following the murder of their loved one, indicating a general lack of understanding of the experiences and reactions they are subjected to or the coping mechanisms that they utilize. What little research that had been conducted has largely been made up of anecdotal insight of psychological practitioners who had worked with clients. A need exists to speak with the survivors themselves to chronicle their experiences in as much detail as possible to help researchers and practitioners wrap their mind around the totality of the loss as well as ground future research. The participants in the study consisted of twelve persons who had immediate family members who had been murdered. Participants were interviewed utilizing Lincoln & Guba?s Naturalistic Inquiry paradigm. They were initially interviewed and encouraged to discuss their loss in narrative and then were asked a series of specific questions that may or may not have been discussed during the narrative. The collected data was analyzed utilizing the constant comparison methodology. Results indicate that many homicide survivors feel overwhelmed by the changes that occur in the short and long term. None of the participants reported positive experiences interacting with mental health practitioners but virtually everyone endorsed peer-group support. There was also evidence that participants whose loved one was murdered by a person of an ethnicity that differed from their own resulted in racist feelings towards the other ethnicity. Further, there was no evidence that the process of interviewing homicide survivors was in and of itself negatively perceived or harmful; rather some participants reported feeling relieved that they were able to discuss their loss in totality without having to edit themselves. Results suggest that homicide survivors may spend an unusual amount of time reflecting on the person that their loved one may have become had they not been murdered. Suggestions also include how to best notify and support homicide survivors and how practitioners may best relate with their clients.
Projected Temporal Orientation
Quisenberry, Clinton Edward (2009). Murder, mayhem, and mourning: a qualitative study of the experiences, reactions, and coping mechanisms of homicide survivors. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from